We’ve all heard how bad sugary drinks like soda and fruit juices are for our teeth, but they taste so good, and let’s face it, sometimes drinking plain old water isn’t very exciting. So, when the beverage industry introduced a new iteration of flavored sparkling waters, people everywhere rejoiced that they could finally drink something that’s good and good for you at the same time. Or is it? You see, while sales of designer waters like La Croix are currently doubling in sales year after year, what many consumers don’t realize is that they’re not that much better for your teeth than regular soda.
If you’re one of the millions of Americans reaching for a can of flavored sparkling water instead of soda these days, give yourself a pat on the back for eating healthier. The truth is, sparkling water really is better for you than regular soda, with its lower sugar, natural colors and natural fruit flavors. But while many people are making sparkling water a part of a healthier diet, they don’t realize that the beverage still has its drawbacks, and they come in the form of the flavorings added to the bubbly beverage.
Drinks like La Croix and the many other sparkling water beverages on the market today are loaded with a few ingredients that are troubling to teeth, the first being citric acid. In fact, many of the flavors of these sparkling beverages contain as much citric acid as a glass of orange juice, something that if consumed in excess, could wreak havoc on your teeth.
The problem is that because part of the draw of sparkling water is that its low calorie, consumers of the beverage think they can drink more of it than they would regular soda or orange juice. But unlike with juice, for example, you probably wouldn’t drink an entire carton in one day, so the damage to your tooth enamel is minimum. On the other hand, some people who drink sparkling water drink more than a dozen cans a day, and that can add up to significant enamel erosion over time.
So, what can you do to save your teeth and still enjoy the drinks you love? For starters, try reading the labels before you choose a flavor. There may be varieties with lower citrus content that still taste great. You may also want to consider switching brands if another brand carries a similar flavor that is easier on your teeth.
If you still can’t find a flavor that you like with lower levels of citric acid, try cutting back how many cans you drink per day, diluting the flavored drink with regular sparkling water, or alternating between sparkling and regular water. Drinking a glass of regular water after you finish each can of sparkling water will clean out your mouth and help get the citric acid off your teeth, so it’s not just sitting there causing enamel damage all day long.
Remember, giving up regular soda is to be commended, but don’t jump from one bad habit to another! If you’re going to make the switch make sure you’re protecting your teeth, and part protecting your teeth means getting regular exams and cleaning. To schedule a cleaning, call Dr. Lederman at 516-882-1764.